What the Color of Your Site is Saying About You
When you think of Coca Cola, what color do you think of? What about Walmart? Peanut M&Ms? It is obvious that these companies have made color part of their identity. They are not alone. Most companies put a lot of effort into establishing color as a part of their corporate identity. But how should that color translate to their website? Maybe you are looking to transition your corporate identity to the Internet for the first time or maybe you are looking to freshen up an aged site; either way, you should know what your colors are saying.
As you begin the planning stage of your website design or update, carefully analyze who it is you are trying to reach and what emotions you want them to have as they view your site. Review the following list of common colors and some of the psychological emotion they invoke:
Red: warning, excitement, aggression, energy, passion, love, danger
Orange: playfulness, courage, comfort, fun, youth, approachability, celebration, warmth, affordability
Yellow: joy, curiosity, playfulness, happiness, light, amusement, cheerfulness
Green: money, health, life, wealth, prosperity, naturalness, restfulness, healing
Blue: trustworthiness, successes, peace, loyalty, patience, spirituality, freedom, power, calmness, professionalism
Purple: wisdom, sophistication, celebration
White: purity, cleanliness, youth, freshness, peace
Black: seriousness, secrecy, mystery, elegance, darkness
Pink: romance, youthfulness, tenderness, innocence, sweetness
Brown: strength, earth, nature, stability, simplicity, credibility, tribal
Grey: reserved, indifference, reliability, maturity, security
By understanding the psychology behind the colors, you are able to visually express specific emotions to your visitors. (For a more extensive explanation of the meaning behind colors, read this article on Color Meaning.)
If your identity colors invoke emotions different from your website’s goal, consider using them as an accent color. They are still included in the site and will reinforce your corporate identity, but will allow for the main colors of the site to invoke the emotions you desire. For example, Coca-Cola used their signature red as a strong accent in their site but also implements other colors to add to the desired emotions. The green, blue, and white add feelings of freedom, youth, and life. If red was used in a more dominate way it could create feelings of aggression and danger, contradictory to what Coke is about.
No matter what business you are in, as your website evolves remember that the color of the page speaks volumes. Ask yourself who your target audience is and what emotion you want them to have, then choose accordingly.